AFP claims to have upper hand vs. rebels

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday presented a glowing assessment of their anti-insurgency efforts in 2013 following a command conference by chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista and senior military leaders in Camp Aguinaldo.

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It claimed that government forces, through the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP)-Bayanihan, had made the communist New People’s Army (NPA) fail miserably in their efforts to regain their foothold during the 1980s wherein they had an estimated 25,000 fully armed red fighters.

“The NPA miserable failed in achieving its goals bound on its five-year central plan which ended in 2013. They were unsuccessful in expanding their mass because support as 16 more provinces were normalized last year,” it added.

Overall, the AFP said, it was able to neutralize the rebels in 43 out of the 64 NPA-infested provinces nationwide that also led to the capture of 824 NPA personalities and the surrender of 425 firearms.

It added that they were able to neutralize 502 rogue Moro National Liberation Front elements (RMEs) of which 208 were killed, 270 captured and 24 surrenderees, with 324 firearms being recovered.

On the government side, the AFP suffered 197 casualties during the three-week siege of Zamboanga by the RMEs; 20 were killed in action and 177 were wounded while 195 hostages were safely rescued.

The AFP reported that it was also able to effectively limit the Bansamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters’ capability to sabotage or derail the ongoing peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Last year, the AFP further said, the government also gained from the closure agreement with the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA), adding that it led to the integration of 168 CPLA members in the military service.

In the process also led to the turnover of 403 firearms. The CPLA, which used to operate in the Cordilleras, was founded by the late rebel priest Fr. Conrado Balweg.

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